10 what does white blood cells in gram stain mean Ideas (2023)

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Below is information and knowledge on the topic what does white blood cells in gram stain mean gather and compiled by the show.vn team. Along with other related topics like: Moderate white blood cells in Gram stain, What does epithelial cells in Gram stain mean, What does many white blood cells in Gram stain mean, Gram stain results many white blood cells no organisms seen, Pus cells in Gram stain meaning, Gram stain results interpretation, Gram stain results no organisms seen.

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n – Testing.com

What is being tested?

A Gram stain is a laboratory procedure used to detect the presence ofbacteriaand sometimes fungi in a sample taken from the site of a suspected infection. It gives relatively quick results as to whether bacteria or fungi are present and, if so, the general type(s).

The Gram stain involves applying a sample from the infected area onto a glass slide and allowing it to dry. The slide is then treated with a special stain and examined under a microscope by a trained laboratorian. Any bacteria that may be present are categorized by color and shape during the microscopic evaluation:

  • Color — typically bacteria may be either “Gram positive” (purple) or “Gram negative” (pink)
  • Shape — the most common shapes include round (cocci) or rod-shaped (bacilli)

Additional information may be obtained by observing the groupings of the bacteria on the slide, such as cocci that are present singly, in pairs, in groups of four, in clusters or in chains, or bacilli that are thick, thin, short, long, or have enlarged spores on one end. Any bacteria that are present within white blood cells (intracellular) are also noted.

The Gram stain color and the bacterial shape give clues as to what bacteria might be causing the infection. One example of gram-positive cocci isStaphylococcus aureus, the bacteria associated with staph infections. An example of gram-negative bacteria is Escherichia coli, the cause of many urinary tract infections.

Fungi (in the form of yeasts or molds) can also be initially recognized with the Gram stain, but viruses cannot be seen with a Gram stain.

Though Gram stains are useful as initial tests for detecting and identifying general types of bacteria or fungi, results are usually considered preliminary. Results of a culture and/or other tests such as antigen, antibody, or molecular testing for particular types of bacteria are necessary to confirm a diagnosis. Sometimes, susceptibility testing is necessary to determine which antibiotic will be most effective in treating the infection.

How is the sample collected for testing?

Several different types of samples may be collected for Gram stains. Some samples are collected using sterile swabs to obtain cells or exudate at the site of a suspected infection. Other samples, such as urine or sputum, may be collected in a sterile container. Some body fluids may be collected by needle and syringe. A swab may be used to collect a sample of grown and isolated in a culture.

Common Questions

How is it used?

A Gram stain is used, along with a culture of the sample from an infected site, to identify the cause of a bacterial infection. The Gram stain provides preliminary results on whether bacteria are present and the general type, such as the shape and whether they are Gram-positive or Gram-negative.

Often, detecting the presence of bacteria and determining whether an infection is caused by a microbe that is Gram-positive or Gram-negative will be sufficient to allow a healthcare practitioner to prescribe treatment with an appropriate antibiotic while waiting for more specific tests, such as a culture, to be completed. Absence or presence of white blood cells in the Gram stain can help establish that an adequate sample was obtained as white blood cells are frequently present with an infection.

A Gram stain may also be performed as part of the evaluation of a culture. When bacteria grow in a culture in the laboratory, a Gram stain is performed to help determine the type of bacteria present and to help determine what other tests may need to be performed to definitively identify the cause of infection.

Fungi, including yeast, may also be detected with a Gram stain.

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When is it ordered?

A Gram stain is typically ordered along with a culture when a bacterial or sometimes fungal infection is suspected. It is also usually performed when the result of a culture is positive, on a sample of the bacteria grown in the culture. Test results are reported promptly to help guide treatment.

What does the test result mean?

A negative Gram stain is often reported as “no organism seen.” This may mean that there is no bacterial infection present or that there were not enough bacteria present in the sample to be seen with the stain under a microscope.

Positive Gram stain results usually include a description of what was seen on the slide. This typically includes:

  • Whether the bacteria are Gram-positive (purple) or Gram-negative (pink)
  • Shape — round (cocci) or rods (bacilli)
  • Size, relative quantity, and/or arrangement of the bacteria, if relevant
  • Whether there are bacteria present within other cells (intracellular)
  • Presence of red blood cells or white blood cells
  • Fungi (in the form of yeasts or molds) may be seen on a Gram stain and are reported. Yeast may appear as single cells that may have buds, while molds may appear as a wide variety of plant-like branches called hyphae. Further testing may be performed to identify the specific type.

This information, along with signs and symptoms and other clinical findings, will help the health care practitioner decide which treatment may be most effective, sometimes before culture results are available.

However, Gram stain results are usually considered preliminary, and results of a culture and/or other tests such as antigen and antibody testing for particular types of bacteria are necessary to confirm a diagnosis. Sometimes, susceptibility testing is necessary to determine which antibiotic will be most effective in treating the infection.

(Video) GRAM POSITIVE VS GRAM NEGATIVE BACTERIA

A few examples of some medically significant bacteria and what they look like on a Gram stain include:

  • Gram-positive cocci—Staphylcoccus aureus (Staph aureus) can cause skin infections and toxic shock syndrome; Streptococcus pneumoniae can cause pneumonia.
  • Gram-negative cocci—Neisseria meningitidis causes meningitis while Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea.
  • Gram-positive bacilli—Bacillus anthracis (anthrax) can cause skin infections or pneumonia; Listeria monocytogenes can cause foodborne illnesses.
  • Gram-negative bacilli—Escherichia coli is a common cause of urinary tract infections.

Samples such as blood and cerebrospinal fluid are generally sterile. Bacteria are not usually present in these samples when there is no bacterial infection. Bacteria may initially be present in low numbers with an infection, and this type of sample may require extra processing in order to concentrate the bacteria so that they can be detected by a Gram stain.

Other body fluids and sites, such as sputum or skin, typically have cells and normal flora present in addition to any bacteria that are causing an infection. Gram stains on these types of samples require careful examination by a trained laboratorian to determine which cells may be normal and which may be due to an infection.

Is there anything else I should know?

Bacterial infections should not be ignored, even if the symptoms are mild. Prompt treatment can limit their spread and severity. If left untreated, bacterial infections can spread and may eventually cause tissue and organ damage.

Viruses cannot be detected with a Gram stain.

If a healthcare practitioner suspects that a person has a mycobacterial infection, such as tuberculosis, an AFB (acid-fast bacillus) smear and culture may be ordered on a sputum sample instead of a Gram stain and culture.

What are the treatment options for bacterial infections?

Antibiotics are the main treatment for most bacterial infections. In the case of an abscess, incision and drainage of the abscess will be necessary to eliminate the infection because antibiotics may not achieve effective concentrations in the wound without draining the pus first.

Why isn’t a Gram stain performed on all samples sent for culture?

Gram stains are not helpful when the disease-causing bacteria (pathogen) cannot be differentiated from normal bacterial flora. For example, a Gram stain of a sample from the throat cannot tell the healthcare practitioner what bacteria are causing the infection because both the “good bacteria” and the “bad bacteria” look the same under the microscope.

What happens if my healthcare practitioner needs more information than the Gram stain provides?

The Gram stain is usually done in conjunction with a cultureand may be followed by susceptibility testing.This allows for more exact identification of the bacteria causing the infection and determination of the most appropriate antibiotic. Several other tests are available to help make a diagnosis, including antigen and antibody testing, and molecular tests that detect the genetic material of the bacteria.

  • Bacterial Wound Culture
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  • Blood Culture
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  • Sputum Culture, Bacterial
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  • Urine Culture Test
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  • Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing
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  • Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Testing
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  • Gonorrhea Test
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  • Fungal Tests
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  • Synovial Fluid Analysis
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  • Pleural Fluid Testing
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  • Pericardial Fluid Analysis
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  • Peritoneal Fluid Analysis
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  • Microbial Life Educational Resources: Gram Staining
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  • KidsHealth.org: Staph Infections
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  • KidsHealth: Skin Infections & Rashes
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  • MedlinePlus: Fungal Infections
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  • MedlinePlus: Skin Infections
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  • NIDDK: Bladder Infection (Urinary Tract Infection—UTI) in Adults
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Sources

Sources Used in Current Review

Gram stain. Mayo Medical Laboratories. Available online at https://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-catalog/Clinical+and+Interpretive/8078. Accessed January 2017.

Gram stain. University of Rochester Medical Center, Health Encyclopedia. Available online at https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=167&ContentID=gram_stain/. Accessed January 2017.

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Patolia S., et al. (Updated 2015 December 11) Gram Stain. Medscape. Available online at https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2093371-overview. Accessed January 2017.

Hazen, K.C. (Modified 2016 October). Microscopy. Merck Manual, Professional Version. Available online at https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious-diseases/laboratory-diagnosis-of-infectious-disease/microscopy. Accessed January 2017.

Sources Used in Previous Reviews

Physician’s Office Laboratory Microscopy Atlas, 3rd ed, 2007. Henderson & Murray. American Academy for Family Physicians Proficiency Testing.

Pagana, K. D. & Pagana, T. J. (© 2007). Mosby’s Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference 8th Edition: Mosby, Inc., Saint Louis, MO. Pp 694, 707, 714, 883-884.

Wu, A. (© 2006). Tietz Clinical Guide to Laboratory Tests, 4th Edition: Saunders Elsevier, St. Louis, MO. Pp 1564-1565.

Forbes, B. et. al. (© 2007). Bailey & Scott’s Diagnostic Microbiology, 12th Edition: Mosby Elsevier Press, St. Louis, MO. Pp 80-83.

Vorvick, L. (Updated 2009 August 9). Endocervical gram stain. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia [On-line information]. Available online at https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003753.htm. Accessed February 2010.

Yuki Uehara, Y. et. al. (2009 September 18). Impact of Reporting Gram Stain Results from Blood Culture Bottles on the Selection of Antimicrobial Agents. Medscape Today from American Journal of Clinical Pathology [On-line information]. Available online at https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/708594. Accessed February 2010.

Henry’s Clinical Diagnosis and Management by Laboratory Methods. 21st ed. McPherson R, Pincus M, eds. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier: 2007, Pp 1016-1017.

(© 2012) Cavanaugh D, Keen M, American Society for Microbiology. The Gram Stain: An Animated Approach. Available online at https://www.microbelibrary.org/library/gram-stain/3018-the-gram-stain-an-animated-approach. Accessed September 2013.

(Video) Gram Staining

(Updated July 22, 2103) Smith A, Hussey M, American Society for Microbiology. Gram Stain Protocols. Available online at https://www.microbelibrary.org/component/resource/gram-stain/2886-gram-stain-protocols. Accessed September 2013.

(Updated February 21, 2013) Patolia S, et al. Gram Stain. Medscape Reference article. Available online at https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2093371-overview. Accessed September 2013.

Uehara Y, et al. Impact of Reporting Gram Stain Results from Blood Culture Bottles on the Selection of Antimicrobial Agents. Am J Clin Pathol 2009 132:18-25. Available online at https://ajcp.ascpjournals.org/content/132/1/18.full?sid=b349478c-9108-4e9c-b957-5547886cb78c. Accessed September 2013.

Munson E, et al. Mechanisms To Assess Gram Stain Interpretation Proficiency of Technologists at Satellite Laboratories. J. Clin. Microbiol. November 2007 vol. 45 no. 11 3754-3758. Available online at https://jcm.asm.org/content/45/11/3754.long. Accessed September 2013.

Forbes, B. et. al. (© 2007). Bailey & Scott’s Diagnostic Microbiology, 12th Edition: Mosby Elsevier Press, St. Louis, MO. Pp 80-83.

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Frequently Asked Questions About what does white blood cells in gram stain mean

If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic what does white blood cells in gram stain mean, then this section may help you solve it.

How do you interpret the results of a Gram stain?

What do the findings indicate?

  1. If the bacteria was colored purple, it means you likely have a Gram-positive infection.
  2. If the bacteria was colored pink or red, it means you likely have a Gram-negative infection.

What does a Gram stain test that is positive mean?

If your test results show a positive Gram stain, it means that bacteria were present in your sample. If your test results show a positive Gram stain, it means that bacteria were present in your sample. If your result is positive, it typically includes details about what kind of organism was present on the sample slide, including: Type of bacteria: Gram-positive or gram-negative

Is an infection always gram-positive?

Staphylococcus aureus is a clustered, gram-positive, catalase-, and coagulase-positive cocci that can cause inflammation-related illnesses such as skin infections, pneumonia, endocarditis, septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, and abscesses.

What is a Gram stain that is abnormal?

Additional tests are required to confirm the results in order for your provider to recommend the right antibiotic or other course of treatment. An abnormal result indicates that bacteria have been discovered in the skin lesion.

What conditions does a Gram stain diagnose?

One of the most popular methods for quickly determining a bacterial infection in the body is the Gram stain test, which is used to identify bacteria.

Does gram-positive bacteria pose a threat?

Gram-positive bacteria, which can cause a variety of infections, from food poisoning to serious respiratory diseases, are a type of bacteria with a thick cell wall that helps shield the bacteria from antibiotics and other substances that might damage them.

Gram-positive or gram-negative, which is worse?

Gram-negative bacteria are more resistant than Gram-positive bacteria because of their unique structure, which also contributes to their widespread global burden of morbidity and mortality.

Why is the Gram stain important clinically?

Gram stain is frequently the first diagnostic test used to evaluate infections because it allows for the quick application of the proper antibiotics, but genetic sequences and molecular techniques are more specific.

How is a gram-positive infection contracted?

Critically ill hospitalized patients are at increased risk for infections with opportunistic gram-positive bacteria. The majority of gram-positive infections are primarily caused by the normal resident microflora of the skin, mucous membranes, and gastrointestinal tract.

Is an infection gram-negative?

In healthcare settings, gram-negative bacteria can cause infections such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections, and meningitis. Gram-negative bacteria are multi-drug resistant and becoming more and more resistant to the majority of available antibiotics.

Can you get sick from gram-positive bacteria?

Gram-positive bacteria can still be problematic, even though gram-negative bacteria are more difficult to eradicate. Many species of gram-positive bacteria cause disease and call for particular antibiotics.

FAQs

What does white blood cells in Gram stain mean? ›

Generally, with regard to Gram-stained sputum, the presence of the engulfment (phagocytosis) of bacteria by white blood cells (WBCs) is considered a sign of infection caused by those organisms.

What does red blood cells in Gram stain mean? ›

If the bacteria was colored purple, it means you likely have a Gram-positive infection. If the bacteria was colored pink or red, it means you likely have a Gram-negative infection.

What does the Gram stain reveal about a cell? ›

Gram staining works by differentiating bacteria by the chemical and physical properties of their cell walls. However, not all forms of bacteria can be tested using the Gram stain method, and Gram stains don't usually provide a diagnosis alone. Instead, they help to broadly determine the type of bacteria.

What is the Gram stain and what information does it provide about cells quizlet? ›

The gram stain is a basic differential stain used to determine if a bacterial cell is gram positive or negative. Gram positive cells have a thick peptidoglycan layer that will trap the crystal violet iodine crystals and appear purple.

What do white blood cells do to bacteria? ›

White blood cells are made in the bone marrow and protect the body against infection. If an infection develops, white blood cells attack and destroy the bacteria, virus, or other organism causing it. White blood cells are bigger than red blood cells and normally are fewer in number.

What do white blood cells indicate? ›

White blood cells are an important and necessary part of your immune system. Produced in your bone marrow, they defend your body against infections and disease. But, when there are too many white blood cells, it usually means you have infection or inflammation in your body.

What does it mean if you see pink stains in a Gram stained slide? ›

Bacteria are classified as either Gram-positive or Gram-negative, based on how they color in reaction with the Gram stain. The Gram stain is colored purple. When combined with the bacteria in a sample, the stain will either stay purple inside the bacteria (Gram-positive), or it will turn pink (Gram-negative).

Why do gram-negative cells appear red after staining quizlet? ›

Gram-negative cells are decolorized and stained by the pink / red secondary stain. Gram-positive cells retain the purple dye mordant complex because of their thick layer of peptidoglycan. Which of the following are terms used to describe the color dyes applied in the gram staining technique?

Does gram-negative mean infection? ›

Gram-negative bacteria cause infections including pneumonia, bloodstream infections, wound or surgical site infections, and meningitis in healthcare settings. Gram-negative bacteria are resistant to multiple drugs and are increasingly resistant to most available antibiotics.

What stain is used to identify Gram positive cells? ›

[1] Often the first test performed, gram staining involves the use of crystal violet or methylene blue as the primary color. [2] The term for organisms that retain the primary color and appear purple-brown under a microscope is Gram-positive organisms.

What does it mean if a Gram stain is positive? ›

Gram-positive bacteria are bacteria with thick cell walls. In a Gram stain test, these organisms yield a positive result. The test, which involves a chemical dye, stains the bacterium's cell wall purple.

What does it mean if a cell is Gram positive? ›

Gram-positive organisms have a thicker peptidoglycan cell wall compared with gram-negative bacteria. It is a 20 to 80 nm thick polymer while the peptidoglycan layer of the gram-negative cell wall is 2 to 3 nm thick and covered with an outer lipid bilayer membrane.

What is the conclusion of Gram staining? ›

The Gram stain method also has both a low false-negative (4%) and high negative predictive value (96%), making it an ideal diagnostic test. CONCLUSION: The Gram stain method is a rapid and cost-effective test that is also highly reproducible and readily available in many laboratories.

Which part of the cell does the Gram stain give us information on? ›

Gram staining differentiates bacteria by the chemical and physical properties of their cell walls. Gram-positive cells have a thick layer of peptidoglycan in the cell wall that retains the primary stain, crystal violet.

What information does a Gram stain provide about a bacterial sample? ›

A Gram stain is used, along with a culture of the sample from an infected site, to identify the cause of a bacterial infection. The Gram stain provides preliminary results on whether bacteria are present and the general type, such as the shape and whether they are Gram-positive or Gram-negative.

What white blood cells indicate bacterial infection? ›

Neutrophils are infection fighters that increase during bacterial infections (neutrophils are also known as granulocytes (grans), polys, PMNs, or segs).

Which white blood cells show bacterial infections? ›

Neutrophils mostly target bacterial infections. Lymphocytes mostly target viral infections. A higher than normal amount of neutrophils is known as neutrophilia.

What happens to white blood cells when fighting infection? ›

White blood cells are immune system cells. They are like warriors waiting in your blood stream to attack invaders such as bacteria and viruses. When fighting an infection, your body produces more white blood cells.

Why do gram-negative cells stain pink and not purple? ›

Gram negative bacteria appear a pale reddish color when observed under a light microscope following Gram staining. This is because the structure of their cell wall is unable to retain the crystal violet stain so are colored only by the safranin counterstain.

Why would a Gram positive bacteria stain pink? ›

Gram positive bacteria stain violet due to the presence of a thick layer of peptidoglycan in their cell walls, which retains the crystal violet these cells are stained with.

What stains bacteria pink? ›

Many experts agree that the bacteria that causes these pink stains is most likely Serratia marcescens, a bacteria which is found naturally in soil, food, and in animals. Serratia, which produce a characteristic red pigment, thrive on moisture, dust, and phosphates and need almost nothing to survive.

What is true about the color of gram negative cells when Gram stained quizlet? ›

The Gram-positive cells have thick walls, and they will retain the purple crystal violet stain if decolorization was carried out correctly. The Gram-negative cells will be decolorized and are colorless.

What determines if a cell is gram positive or gram negative quizlet? ›

Because of the thickness of peptidoglycan in their cell walls. Those with thick peptidoglycan in their wall are stained purple and are known as Gram positive. Those with thin peptidoglycan and an outer membrane stain pink and are known as Gram negative.

What makes bacteria Gram positive or negative? ›

In 1884, a bacteriologist named Christian Gram created a test that could determine if a bacterium had a thick, mesh-like membrane called peptidoglycan. Bacteria with thick peptidoglycan are called gram positive. If the peptidoglycan layer is thin, it's classified as gram negative.

Is it better to be Gram-positive or negative? ›

Gram-positive bacteria cause tremendous problems and are the focus of many eradication efforts, but meanwhile, Gram-negative bacteria have been developing dangerous resistance and are therefore classified by the CDC as a more serious threat.

Is Gram-positive serious? ›

Gram-positive infections are causing more serious infections than ever before in surgical patients, who are increasingly aged, ill, and debilitated. Invasive procedures disrupt natural barriers to bacterial invasion, and indwelling catheters may act as conduits for infection.

Is gram-negative a UTI? ›

More than 90% of UTIs are due to enteric Gram-negative organisms, of which more than 80% are Escherichia coli (4,5). Current management guidelines recommend empirical therapy for acute, uncomplicated lower UTIs in young women (2,3).

What is gram staining used for quizlet? ›

What is the purpose of Gram Stain? To be able to determine the composition of the cell wall. The advantage of this staining procedure is that those cells that decolorize can be differetiated from the cells that resist decolorization by alcohol.

What is the Gram stain method quizlet? ›

Gram stain technique. A staining procedure used to identify bacterial cells as gram-positive or gram-negative. developed by christian gram in the 1800s. -Cells are stained with crystal violet and Gram iodine solution and washed with a decolorizer.

What happens when a bacteria is Gram positive? ›

Gram-positive bacteria are a type of bacteria that have a thick cell wall. This cell wall helps protect the bacteria from antibiotics and other substances that might damage them. Gram-positive bacteria can cause a range of infections, from food poisoning to serious respiratory diseases.

What does gram positive and negative do? ›

There are many types of Gram-positive bacteria. These bacteria can cause infective endocarditis, gastroenteritis, meningitis, UTIs, impetigo, and CAP. There are also a number of types of Gram-negative bacteria. These bacteria can cause salmonella, Legionnaires' disease, cholera, cat scratch disease, and typhoid fever.

What does gram-positive mean quizlet? ›

Gram positive bacteria have a thick peptidoglycan cell wall with a single internal plasma membrane. They do not contain LPS but they do contain teichoic and lipoteichoic acid. Gram negative bacteria have a thinner peptidoglycan cell wall with an outer membrane and an inner plasma membrane (dual membrane).

What is Gram staining and why is it important? ›

The Gram stain is the most important staining procedure in microbiology. It is used to differentiate between gram positive organisms and gram negative organisms. Hence, it is a differential stain. Gram negative and gram positive organisms are distinguished from each other by differences in their cell walls.

What is the most important step in the Gram stain? ›

The thickness of the smear used in the Gram stain will affect the result of the stain. The step that is most crucial in effecting the outcome of the stain is the decolorizing step.

What type of stain is Gram staining quizlet? ›

Terms in this set (14) What is a gram stain? It's a DIFFERENTIAL stain that allows for classification of a bacteria as either gram-positive or gram-negative. Discovered by Hans Christian Gram.

What does it mean when a Gram stain is negative? ›

If your gram stain results are negative, it means no bacteria were found in your sample. If they're positive, it means bacteria were present. Because of the staining technique used, gram-positive bacteria will appear purple under a microscope and gram-negative bacteria will appear pink.

What characteristics can be determined in a Gram stain quizlet? ›

What two cell characteristics can be determined by using the Gram stain? Cell shape and cell wall structure can be determined from a Gram stain.

Does high white blood cell count mean bacterial infection? ›

A high white blood count may mean you have one of the following conditions: A bacterial or viral infection. An inflammatory disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. An allergy.

Which white blood cells indicate infection? ›

Neutrophils are one type of WBC. They are important for fighting infections.

Can white blood cells be cancerous? ›

Leukemia is cancer of white blood cells or cells that become white blood cells. Leukemia prevents white blood cells from fighting infections in your body. Leukemia can be either acute (fast-growing) or chronic (slower-growing), and affect the lymphocytes (lymphocytic leukemia) or other immune cells (myeloid leukemia).

Why are white blood cells high with no infection? ›

When a high white blood cell count is not caused by general infections and immune system malfunctions or responses, it may be an indication of a more specific issue or condition, such as: Acute lymphocytic leukemia. Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) Allergy, especially severe allergic reactions.

Can you have an infection and your white blood count be normal? ›

Seventeen percent of infected patients had both a normal white count and no fever. There are many reasons why temperature and white count can be normal in a patient with an infection. For example, when these may not appear until later in an infection, particularly in elderly populations.

How do white blood cells find infection? ›

In early stages of infection, white blood cells patrol the body looking for invading pathogens. Dectin-1, a receptor on the surface of white blood cells, recognizes specific components of fungal cell walls, and alerts or "switches on" the immune cells to prepare to fight the infection.

What diseases affect white blood cells? ›

Two major types of white blood cell disorders are proliferative disorders and leukopenias. In the proliferative disorders, there is an increase in the number of white blood cells. This increase is commonly a reaction due to infection, but may, less commonly, be related to some types of cancer.

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